Back to the flower-town, side by side,
The bright months bring,
New-born, the bridegroom and the bride,
Freedom and spring.
The sweet land laughs from sea to sea,
Filled full of sun;
All things come back to her, being free;
All things but one.
In many a tender wheaten plot
Flowers that were dead
Live, and old suns revive; but not
That holier head.
By this white wandering waste of sea,
Far north, I hear
One face shall never turn to me
As once this year:
Shall never smile and turn and rest
On mine as there,
Nor one most sacred hand be prest
Upon my hair.
I came as one whose thoughts half linger,
Half run before;
The youngest to the oldest singer
That England bore.
I found him whom I shall not find
Till all grief end,
In holiest age our mightiest mind,
Father and friend.
But thou, if anything endure,
If hope there be,
O spirit that man’s life left pure,
Man’s death set free,
Not with disdain of days that were
Look earthward now;
Let dreams revive the reverend hair,
The imperial brow;
Come back in sleep, for in the life
Where thou art not
We find none like thee. Time and strife
And the world’s lot
Move thee no more; but love at least
And reverent heart
May move thee, royal and released,
Soul, as thou art.
And thou, his Florence, to thy trust
Receive and keep,
Keep safe his dedicated dust,
His sacred sleep.
So shall thy lovers, come from far,
Mix with thy name
As morning-star with evening-star
His faultless fame.